International Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to promote the importance of building an international dimension into the education of young people in the UK at primary and secondary levels. We know that familiarity with other cultures and modern foreign languages skills are an essential part of preparing young people to work in the increasingly globalised economy.
We are an authoritative voice on language learning, through our English teaching around the world, and we bring an intercultural dimension to foreign language learning in the UK through sharing our experiences, providing research/data and bringing in examples of international best practice
This year IEW will support a major policy shift in UK schools. From September 2014primary schools in England will be required to teach a foreign language to pupils at Key Stage 2 (upper primary). There is also increasing policy support in other UK countries for language learning at primary level.
- To promote the importance of an international dimension to primary and secondary education in the UK.
- To promote the learning of modern foreign languages as a part of this
- To increase participation in the British Council-run programmes that help to create an international dimension in schools (for example, Connecting Classrooms, Comenius and Language Assistants).
The audiences for IEW can be split into three categories: The general public (including parents and young people); senior practitioners and policymakers; and classroom teachers in schools. The main offers for each group are set out below.
For the general public / parents / young people
- Media and social media campaigns onthe importance of learning a foreign language, to include testimonies by high profile ‘language ambassadors’.
- Stakeholder events: presentations in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. These will be streamed and recorded to boost audience reach.
- ‘Grass roots’ advocacy and engagement aimed at parents – for example, a campaign to encourage them to count with their children in another language.
For senior practitioners / policy makers
- A prominent conference / policy event for organisations and individuals involved in promoting and implementing modern foreign language learning in UK schools. Comparative research and overseas speakers will add an international dimension.
- Publication of a research report into language learning in the UK and internationally – the exact topic is still being determined.
- A stakeholder reception in Parliament to promote language learning; other parliamentary events in Westminster with similar events in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For teachers in schools and sixth-form colleges
- Provision of classroom materials online and in hard copy to help schools celebrate languages.
- Provision of support materials on how to boost language learning in schools – especially relevant to English schools in the run-up to the 2014 curriculum changes.
- This would be supported by a series of features in sector media, with a clear call to action and a practical offer from British Council.
- ‘Grass roots’ advocacy in schools, including events to promote language learning (for example, ‘French days’) run by language assistants, and advocacy by alumni to persuade children / teachers of the value of learning languages.
The British Council is keen to work with established and new partners who share our interest in this agenda and are keen to promote modern language learning in schools. We will be approaching potential partners in the coming months.
The British Council has a team of education and communications specialists working on the organisation of International Education Week.
Please contact Vicky Gough for more information on the offer for schools, and Mark Herbert for general enquiries.
To find out more about our schools work, please visit www.britishcouncil.org/schoolsonline